Jupiter’s Bonham Carter lauds company’s ‘reverse Brexit’ success
With international sales outstripping the UK business, Jupiter’s vice chairman Edward Bonham Carter has discussed the global path forward for the UK manager, including its SICAV in an era of Brexit. Gary Robinson caught up with him at the company’s London headquarters.
The competitive spirit is a key driver behind any successful fund manager and business leader. For Edward Bonham Carter, the appetite for success is arguably embedded in his very DNA.
Having a successful younger sister in film actress (Helena) has possibly helped drive this competitive spirit, but the family tree also includes great-great-grandfather Herbert Henry Asquith – Liberal prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916, the last to lead that party in government without a coalition – and grandfather, Don Eduardo Propper de Callejon, who in 2008 was posthumously awarded the title ‘Righteous among the Nations’ by Israel’s Holocaust Memorial for his role saving hundreds of Jews in the Second World War.
There is much to live up to, and rather large footsteps to follow in, but it is not something that has ever gotten in Bonham Carter’s way. And in the asset management world Jupiter’s vice-chairman is perhaps just as well-known, or even better known, as his illustrious relatives.
Indeed, given the development of the business over the past decade or so under his leadership, he can afford a relaxed manner when proffering his outlook for the company from its headquarters off Victoria Street in Westminster, London. “The last time we’d just gone through the type of market growth felt in the last few months with the FTSE was in 1999, and we were at about £12bn,” he says.
“Now with the FTSE, in straight capital, at about 7,250-7,300, assets were £40bn at the end of December last year. It is encouraging growth.”
The advantage of previously having been through turbulent times on markets – today driven by reactions to president Donald Trump in the White House and Brexit uncertainty closer to home – is that Bonham Carter can reference the benefits of hard work. ‘Success’ has always been “an output of the corporate strategy rather than an aim in itself”, says Bonham Carter, without, he adds, wanting to sound “overly clichéd”.
“This business is quite simple in that you say what it is that you should do – but is quite hard to deliver – which is to outperform on behalf your clients over medium and long term after all fees. And then, corporate strategy-wise, to deliver that capability to a wide group of clients both in this country and abroad.”
“What has changed? The big development, both under me and now under Maarten (current CEO Maarten Slendebroek), over the last few years is the development of the international business.”
The Jupiter SICAV has reached some £10bn of assets, against a relatively tiny amount when launched. The irony of growth and success of Jupiter’s products across Continental Europe at a time when the UK appears to be drifting further away is not lost on Bonham Carter.
“It is odd that we are ‘little Englanders’ at the time of Brexit,” he says, noting that “we’ve opened offices – almost the reverse Brexit story – in Madrid and Milan recently.”